A look at God’s goodness on difficult days
I first wrote this post about how God is good back in June of 2014 when my kiddos were toddler and preschool age. Remembering that God is good is always timely. Considering this post talks about them both being sick is even more timely for me right now since they are again both sick at the same time. Thankfully right now they are just dealing with head colds and don’t need nearly as much help at 9 and 12 as they did at 17 months and 4 years!
About two years ago my son came down with a virus. Considering the dude is 17 months old, I might be exaggerating. It was actually last Friday, but since my daughter has since come down with the same virus and it lasts about a week, time is passing a bit slowly for me right now.
The good news is that neither kid has been hit super hard with this virus, just enough to make them tired, a bit grumpy and clingy. It could be way worse. However, it’s also highly contagious. Somehow they shared their germs with my mom who hasn’t seen them in more than a week. Fortunately no one else has come down with it. We’re staying in and missing out on a good week of activities to keep our germs to ourselves. Maybe by this weekend we’ll be all clear of contagions. I can’t wait. Sick kids aren’t super fun, but being sick isn’t super fun, so I don’t blame them.
The exhausting everyday moments of parenthood
Last evening, though, my son was feeling better but still grumpy. He started getting back into things he hasn’t in weeks, like the dog’s water dish, over and over again. Then he was climbing on the table. He wanted to simultaneously be in my lap and on the floor. My daughter wanted to play. Her ideas were having me mimic her dance moves. I was tired. It had been a long day. It was the kind of day that lasted longer than my patience. I debated about loading everyone in the car in their pajamas just to go for a ride. I didn’t care where, I just needed to be out of the house and not have someone hanging off of me.
It was also raining. My husband had recently repaired a gutter and went outside to check on it. Lucky duck, I thought. At least he got to get out of the house. (My son might not have been the only grumpy one!) He came back in and said he had something neat to show our daughter. She slipped on shoes with her nightgown. I scooped up the baby and we went out, too. It was raining, but we have a covered patio. The “neat thing” my husband had to show off was an intricate spider web. My son couldn’t care less, I didn’t care much and my daughter thought it was pretty cool. However, we were out of the house! We sat on the patio, listening to the rain on the metal roof for a little while. It was the change of scenery that I think we all needed.
Finding joy in the simple things
Sometimes it’s the simple parts in life that make it so good. I wouldn’t say that this has been an overall great week. It hasn’t be horrible and could definitely have been worse, but it also could certainly have been better. My daughter is missing out on her first experience with Vacation Bible School thanks to being sick. She has literally been counting down the days for a month and was looking forward to having me be with her leading around the preschoolers. I was looking forward to her having fun and learning more about God. She is so very interested in God and Bible stories right now. She has a love for Him that makes my heart burst. I don’t want to quash that. I want to encourage and nurture that. And I thought VBS would be one way to do that.
However, God had different ideas. I’d be lying if I said I understood completely or knew what He was thinking. I don’t. In fact, I’ve cried about it this week a couple of times. I’ve prayed about it. As soon as my son got sick, I prayed that somehow my daughter and I wouldn’t so we could still go. I firmly believe God heard my prayer; He just said no. Sometimes “no” is a hard answer to hear. I think I’m more disappointed than my daughter is. But, I do know that always God has a plan. God is good and always in control. I can trust Him even when hardships — whether small or big — don’t make sense.
I’ve learned that lesson time and again, even when I doubt. I’ve learned that in living with a chronic illness when I’ve not understood reasons for suffering. And I’ve learned that when proverbial doors not only closed on me but slammed shut in my face and smashed some fingers in the process. God doesn’t always make sense.
In my humanity, I sometimes get mad about it. Sometimes my feelings get hurt. Sometimes I get so frustrated that in trying to do the right thing and making choices God has led me to make that I still can get punched in the face with a hardship. It’s not always fair. But, God never said life would be fair and therein lies the rub. Therein lies the difficulty.
God is good
However, I have learned that even when life doesn’t make sense, God does make sense. I have told my daughter time and again that she doesn’t always need to understand why my husband and I ask her to do something, she just needs to do it because we said so. (Trust me, the girl wants us to explain everything all the time and sometimes she just needs to trust us.) Just like I’d never lead my children astray, just like I have valid reasons for disciplining them when they do something wrong, so God does the same for me. At the end of the long, hard day — even through my hurt, frustration and tears — all I have left (all I really had to begin with) is to trust God and lean fully on Him.
I can look back now other major hardships in my life and see how God worked them for my good. I can look back at other hard times and still not understand them, but I trust that just like I look out for my children, He is looking out for me. My toddler and preschooler can’t understand as much as I do at age 35. I can’t understand as much as God does as the maker of the universe and creator of everything in it. I just have to trust in One Who loves me more than I can fathom.
And so even in small hardships like having temporarily sick kiddos who are missing out on things they were looking forward to, I can trust. I can know that God really does work all things to the good of those who love Him even when little things (and big things!) don’t make sense.
While I wouldn’t mind a bit of a break in the craziness of life this week, I am working to be thankful in all circumstances at all times. Because God is good all the time. He is ever faithful.